One of my most significant and memorable cultural experience was my first overseas trip to Vietnam in 2013. The hectic and busy streets of the under developed city of Ho Chi Minh, the local habits and particular mindsets, the unbearably hot and humid atmosphere formed a strong contrast to everything I had experienced back then. During promenades, I saw young girls going to school wearing the traditional Vietnamese tunic áo dài. My grand aunts as well as many vendors in the streets were dressed in the typical light silky outfits called áo bà ba. A trip to countryside of Vietnam provided me with vivid memories of farmers cultivating rice in the fields and shielding from sunrays with bamboo hats, while in town it was common to find locals wearing slippers with socks, sunglasses, European hats and even umbrella in order avoid too much sunlight and tanning. I had never seen anything like this before and this experience enlightened me about the concept of fashion. Dress codes were much stricter in Vietnam. Outfits such as miniskirt, open shoulders and belly-free pieces of clothing were considered indecent and were subject to much heavier criticism than they were in Europe. Perhaps partly due to the country’s low economic advancement, the greater disparities of income levels, the eagerness to compete with developed countries combined with the strive to maintain the traditional roots and the particular climate, fashion in Vietnam was very diverse. It revealed to me in striking ways the functional and cultural characteristics of a society it generally embodies.
For this project, I have transposed subtly the contrast of tradition and modernity in the same clothes and designed different silhouettes and collages with five modern clothing items. I have tried to combine the different forms, shapes and fabrics inspired by traditional clothes.